Health services are bracing themselves for an influx of patients with anxiety and stress-related illnesses caused by PSA-related job losses.

Bay of Plenty medical officer of health Phil Shoemack said many people were already struggling with economic woes and high living costs.

Job losses caused by the kiwifruit vine disease will only exacerbate problems, Dr Shoemack said.

"People will still have the day-by-day and week-by-week bills to pay and if there's less income coming in from households and less spending happening in the communities - it wouldn't be surprising if that created some issues for people."


Bay of Plenty towns Opotiki and Te Puke have been badly effected by the disease, Dr Shoemack said.

Spring testing of the region's kiwifruit orchids revealed higher-than-expected rates of infection in the main variety of green kiwifruit last month.

"In response to that a number of different agencies are working together to ensure that all the different support services people might need are ready and available.

"The biggest impact of this issue on kiwifruit orchids results in a loss of income for individuals, the people who own the orchids, the people who would normally work on the orchids.

"One of the anticipated possible flow-on effects is just a heightened level of angst or stress," Dr Shoemack said.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated are also offering mediation and counselling services to industry workers.

"We're trying to make sure that we get a message out to every grower that it may be an abnormal situation [Psa disease] but the feelings they're getting - the stress, the anxiety and the worry - are all normal reactions," pastoral care coordinator Ian Greaves said.

"We're running seminars and discussions groups and we have 0800 numbers for people to ring and then we have a list of people we can refer them to."

The kiwifruit industry has representatives throughout New Zealand which discuss the wellbeing of growers and workers regularly, he said.

"On average I would say we're getting a referral or concern everyday.

"My biggest focus is on the central Bay of Plenty because that is where the majority of the growers are that have the disease."